Funds for Andrew Thomas' Anti-Illegal-Immigrant Efforts Blocked by County Supervisors; Sheriff Smears Mary Rose Wilcox With Unnamed Allegations

Infighting by Maricopa County officials worsened today with a storm of insults and budget-cutting.

Earlier today, County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley voted against allowing County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office to receive $1.4 million in state funding for enforcement against illegal immigrants. The votes blocked the funds in a 2-2 vote, with Fulton Brock and Andrew Kunasek going the other way.

Max Wilson, the Board of Supervisors' fifth member, was absent for the vote. The Business Journal says Wilson had been sick "and the matter could be revisited," while Channel 5 (KPHO-TV) implies Stapley will change his vote.

In April, Wilson and Brock had joined Wilcox and Stapley in voting to postpone Arpaio's receipt of $1.6 million in funds for anti-illegal-immigrant enforcement. The Supervisors later voted -- with the exception of Wilcox -- to approve the funds.

Also today, media outlets detailed a new request for public records by the sheriff's office -- one of the favorite new political tactics of Arpaio and Thomas. This one is directed at Wilcox's business dealings. Arpaio says his criminal investigation "goes beyond" [the Biz Journal's words -- not a direct Arpaio quote] her business leases.

His statements appear to be more of the same kind of intimidation county officials have been complaining about. When did the police start making very public records requests and bragging about sweeping criminal investigations that haven't produced anything yet? Isn't it another conflict of interest for Arpaio and Thomas to investigate Wilcox, an outspoken political opponent?

At least they gave Stapley the dignity of being indicted.

Click here for the response from Arpaio and Thomas to the Supervisors' vote.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern